Pregnancy got you feeling achy all over? We hear you! Your growing bump and boobs are altering your center of gravity, and your posture might be all out of whack. You need some of our best pregnancy stretches to counteract all those pregnancy aches and pains and keep you strong and limber even in the latter stages of pregnancy.
Can stretching while pregnant hurt the baby?
While you should seek approval from your doctor before starting any new exercise regime when you’re pregnant, prenatal stretching is very unlikely to hurt your baby.
However, you do have to be cautious not to hurt yourself: The pregnancy hormone, Relaxin, does a good job of loosening your ligaments to prepare your body for childbirth, but it also makes it easier for you to over-stretch.
If you’re wondering, is bending safe in pregnancy?, just keep in mind that your body is different these days. So don’t overdo anything, and only keep stretching for as long as it is comfortable. After the first trimester, it’s recommended to avoid lying on your back and doing any excessive backward bends.
What are some good stretches to do while pregnant?
Stretches for pregnancy aches can make you feel as light as air — momentarily at least! Here are our favorite prenatal stretches!
Shoulder and neck
1. Arm raises/Shoulder rolls
Sit cross-legged, with your back straight. Inhale, raise your arms out to the sides, your hands meeting above your head. Reach upwards. On an exhale, lower them down again. Roll your shoulders forwards and backward. Repeat as many times as feels good. This can help relieve tension in your chest, too.
2. Neck tilt
Facing forwards, let your neck drop to the left, toward your shoulder. Hold. Don’t pull on your head with your hand, as this can injure your neck. Repeat on the other side.
Move onto all fours. On an inhale, let your back drop down, lift your tailbone, and raise your head to look forwards, slightly upwards. Hold — this is Cow. On your exhale, arch your back up, tuck your butt under, and move your chin to your chest. Hold — this is Cat. Amazing stretches for pregnancy back pain!
4. Backwards stretch/Child’s Pose
On all fours with the tops of your feet on the floor, push backward with your hands, so your butt drops down between your legs and your body and face come down to the floor. In the latter stages of pregnancy, you might have to keep your legs quite wide to allow space for your bump, or use a fitness ball to keep your body and arms elevated.
Pelvis and hips
5. Pelvic tilts
Stand, hands on your hips. Tilt your pelvis backward, lifting your butt up. Now, tilt your pelvis forwards and tuck your butt under. Repeat.
6. Hip flexor lunge
Step up onto the first stair or an exercise step with your left leg. Hold onto a wall or banister for balance. Transfer your weight forwards and lunge, bending your left leg further. Swap to the right-hand side and repeat.
7. Thigh stretch
Standing up, holding onto a sturdy object for balance, lift one leg, bending at the knee to bring your foot behind you to your butt, holding at the ankle to keep it there. Hold for as long as is comfortable. Repeat on the other side.
8. Calf stretch
Sit down and extend your legs in front of you — your legs might have to be quite wide to allow room for bump. That’s fine. Point your toes down, towards the ground. Hold. Flex your feet upwards, pointing your toes to the sky. Hold. Repeat for as many times as you like. (Which might be a lot – it feels great!)